Café Maroo – A taste of KoreaRestaurants — By Poornima Pandit- Pullan on June 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM
Pune has been receptive to several foreign cuisines and the increasing number of restaurants serving multi-cuisines says it all. Most restaurants, who serve Oriental, normally have Japanese, Chinese and Thai dominating on their menu with limited Korean dishes. But to all those who were in search of authentic Korean food, here is a good news for you. Cafe Maroo, located in Aundh, in West End Plaza, is a special restaurant serving genuine Korean food.
Started by a Korean couple Chang and Mee Kim, the restaurant is a homely and cosy place. Living in Pune for eleven years, the couple came up with the idea to help their native friends; students and tourist enjoy the delectable Korean preparations. The word Maroo comes from the Korean Living room, where everyone lives together happily cooking, eating and having a good time.
As you enter the restaurant, the cosy ambience gives you the feel of a Korean home. Much attention is given to the interiors. You can see lovely Korean art and paintings for sale on the walls. A small pin up board has been put up where visitors can leave their messages/feedback about their experience at the restaurant. There are pictures of the dishes served at the restaurant, which we took a clue from while ordering. Beware! The pictures are deceptive in a good way!
In the seating area they have a small mezzanine, a traditional Korean seating area upstairs, which can accumulate only five people. As a tradition, you have to remove you footwear before sitting down. On the ground level, they also have a neatly done seating area for about nine people. The kitchen is tiny yet efficient for the owner and a helper. The staff is limited with just the owner, a cook to help and a helper to serve food.
The menu is limited yet features a variety of chicken, beef, pork, the specialty Kimchi (fermented vegetables) and a few desserts and teas. The good thing is that they have tried to maintain what they can serve the best and have not Indianised the taste.
We ordered a Chicken Ggas, a Chicken cutlet with a sweet and spicy sauce served with bread /rice and a soup. The soup that they serve is surprisingly cold, with a peculiar taste. We loved it. We also ordered Osam bulgogi Deopbab, which is a curry of marinated pork and squid with soup, a Dak Bulgogi that is marinated Chicken breast served with special Maroo sauce and a Beef Steak served with steak sauce. The fermented bean or the gochujang sauces bring out a distinct flavour that separates the Korean food from its Oriental counterparts. Vegetarians need not fret as they also have dishes like Bibimbab that is rice with mixed vegetables or Veg Jjajang Deopbab, which is Fried rice with sweet soy sauce, they also serve noodles with soups, etc. that can satisfy your taste buds.
The bread rolls that they served were also soft and fresh. The quantity was a lot more than we expected. I knew for a fact that leaving food on the plate is like an insult to them, so we all stuffed ourselves with everything that we had ordered. We ended our meal with cold coffee and an iced cream roll. The cream roll was a frozen roll with hot chocolate sauce poured on it and cut into pieces; we couldn’t help but order a second one.
Digging at food with the chopsticks made the food even more interesting. However, they do not serve traditional wooden chopsticks but steel. The only hiccup could be the price, which ranges from Rs. 170- Rs. 600/- Vat 5% additional. But the quantity of the meals is hearty and the taste is definitely satisfying. They do not serve alcohol. The quantities look small in the dishes, but in real, they are sumptuous! So please consider your appetite before placing the order.
With the dim lighting, Korean artefacts’, the prompt and caring service (Yes, it feels like they genuinely care about you) and the wonderful, unique Korean food makes it all a worthwhile visit to Café Maroo.